There are plenty of reasons why the Tesla Model 3 is the world's best-selling electric car. It's got great styling, exceptional performance, a futuristic, minimalistic interior, and an EPA rated driving range of over 300 miles per charge. It's also incredibly efficient, as you'll see in the highway range test we bring to you today.
We've discussed this here on many occasions, the EPA-rated range never tells the entire story. It's just one metric - usually a good one though, to gauge roughly how far an EV will go per charge, on average. There are a lot of factors that will affect the actual range you get with any EV. High-speed highway driving, for instance, uses more energy than the city/highway combination that the EPA test uses to calculate the rated range. Therefore, we like to test EVs at highway speeds, to offer the readers an idea of what they can expect if they drive their EV on a long trip at 70 miles per hour.
The Model 3 used in the range test is my personal car. It's a 2019 long-range, dual-motor, with a little under 15,000 miles on it. I put the aero wheel covers back on for the range test and made sure the tires were all set to the factory-recommended 42 psi in the morning when they were cold. By the end of the drive, I noticed the pressure had climbed to 46 psi. I drove in "chill mode" with regenerative braking set to standard and used autopilot about 95% of the time.
I was able to drive it 289.1 miles before the state of charge dropped to zero, just as I was pulling into the parking lot where the V3 Superchargers were. I'm sure I could have driven a couple of miles more, as I've seen Model 3's drive more than a few miles after the SOC hit zero, so I think it's fair to round up the range of this test to an even 290 miles.
Over the course of the test, the Model 3 averaged 4.25 miles per kWh, which is incredibly efficient. In our recent 70-mph highway tests of the 2020 Chevy Bolt and 2020 Nissan LEAF Plus, both of those vehicles averaged 3.4 miles per kWh. That's a whopping 25% less efficient than the Model 3 while driving under similar conditions on the exact same driving course.
We also like to mention that we know these 70-mph highway range tests that we're doing here on InsideEVs aren't perfect. There are variables out of our control like wind, traffic, topography, and weather. However, they do provide those interested in the vehicle another valuable data point to use when they're comparing vehicles.
Check out the video and let us know what you think. Also, tell us which EV would you like us to do next and we'll try to make it happen.